Kurti on Brnabić’s reference to Kosovo and Metohija: The name of my country is the Republic of Kosovo

At the Western Balkans Investment Summit held in London on Monday, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti corrected his Serbian counterpart Ana Brnabić, who used the term „Kosovo and Metohija,“ saying that the name of his country is the Republic of Kosovo.

In order to highlight potential investment and business opportunities in the Western Balkan region and promote regional and cross-border projects, the sixth Western Balkan Investment Summit 2024 – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was held in London yesterday.

The president of the EBRD, Odile Renaud-Basso, as well as European representatives, attended this summit, and the prime ministers of the Western Balkans also traveled to London:

Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of Serbia, Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, Milojko Spajić, Prime Minister of Montenegro and Talat Džaferi, Prime Minister of North Macedonia. Borjana Kristo, President of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, participated in the summit online.

The Prime Minister of Serbia and the Prime Minister of Kosovo both talked about economic developments in the territories they represent.

Brnabić emphasized Serbia’s economic growth, while Kurti boasted of successes especially in terms of security, that is, order, rule of law and the fight against corruption.

Both Brnabić and Kurti believe that the territories they represent are the best opportunities for investors.

„Serbia is a country that has completely changed in the last 10 or 12 years in terms of economic development. The growth plan until 2027 that the Government presented together with President Vučić and invited investors is as follows – our GDP will be almost 100 billion euros by 2027. We have an outstanding workforce, we are investing in education more than ever, we are investing in infrastructure. A new report by the Financial Times shows that six local governments from Serbia are among the top 10 recommended as the best places to invest in 2024 and that Serbia country is the right place to invest in the fields of science, biotechnology and information technology,“ said the Serbian Prime Minister.

Kurti also spoke in a similar tone.

„Kosovo leads the Western Balkans in economic growth projections from 2024 to 2025. Also, we have significantly improved in law and order and advancements in political rights, civil liberties, and electoral democracy. This positions Kosovo favorably on the global stage for investments. We have a workforce, the average age of Kosovo is 31 years. We have an open market economy that underscores its commitment to a business-friendly environment. We are best placed for investments in the tech sector, out of 23 European countries, Kosovo ranks 11th, leaving behind the candidate countries for EU membership. In these three years, we have doubled both exports and foreign direct investments, and we still need investments of this type,“ Kurti said.

Kurti is the only representative from the Western Balkans at the summit who, within the framework of Kosovo’s success story, addressed security threats, institutional stability, the rule of law, etc.

He said that in the last three years, Kosovo has recorded economic development, democratic progress and institutional stability, which is why it „managed to deal more easily with security threats, but also to deal with the issue of climate change and social inequalities“.

Kurti’s reply to the mention of the term „Kosovo and Metohija“ by the Serbian PM

In the second part of the summit, the participants answered questions from journalists.

One of them asked the Serbian Prime Minister about investments in businesses, especially smaller ones in Serbia, as a country that, as he said, „attracts the most investments in the Balkans, as much as 60%.“

The same journalist then asked Kurti – how can one trade in Kosovo considering that there are countries that do not recognize Kosovo and still see it as part of Serbia.

Serbia supports small businesses, claimed Brnabić in response to this question, stating that a new record has been set in that sense each year, in the last 12 years, except for the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those small businesses yielded around 550,000 new jobs last year. She also stated that Serbia issued more than 53,000 work permits to foreigners in that period as well.

„Compared to 2015, when 6,300 were issued,“ she specified.

As she further stated, it is part of the data for central Serbia:

„I am referring to Serbia, what is basically not included in these statistics is our autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, which we obviously consider to be part of Serbia. That’s politics, now we’re talking about economy. It is important for me to talk only about The economy.“

After her presentation, Kurti reacted to Serbian PM’s remarks.

„The name of my country is the Republic of Kosovo. It is not Kosovo and Metohija, as it was referred to here. If I were to continue on the same path, then I would take up a lot of your time. Then instead of just Serbia, I would have to say Serbia and Vojvodina, Sandžak, Toplica, and Raška, and the Valley of Presevo, and the province of Timok.“

Kurti emphasized that for him, the main partner for economic cooperation is the European Union.

He presented the data that Kosovo was recognized by 117 countries around the world or, as he specified, 22 EU members out of a total of 27, as well as 26 out of 30 NATO members and three out of four „neighbors of Kosovo“.

They have no relations with Russia, he added, and Kosovo would not want that „even if Russia wanted it“, because they support Ukraine.

Kosovo has some kind of imports from China, he admitted, once again reiterating that the EU is the main strategic partner in trade.

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